For the last fifty years or so, people have been worrying that intelligent machines will take over their jobs. And in some cases, this has been happening. However, in design fields such as architecture people are experiencing the benefits of collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning and AI are freeing architects from time-consuming data-based tasks and leaving them with more time to create wonderfully-designed buildings.
What is Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence?
Machine learning begins with inputted data that a machine then learns from. Artificial intelligence is the application of that data, and in architecture there are unlimited opportunities to leverage this data and transform the profession. Data can be stored in the cloud and shared among architects, contractors, and any others involved in designing, erecting, and managing a building. This makes for seamless cooperation between all parties.
The Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence
There are long-term benefits for every architectural firm if they choose to invest time and resources in data and automation. The opportunity to find new ways to work is too big to ignore. For example, before a building enters the construction phase, designers can generate and test an infinite number of design models.
Also, automation can greatly improve the complex project of designing a building by taking over the many routine tasks that are time-consuming if done manually. Here are some examples:
- Offsetting an array of posts by a specific measurement because of a constraint change.
- Assessing the slope of a roof to ensure that water drains off effectively.
- Checking that no design element overlaps another.
- Looking for geometric collisions between incompatible elements of construction.
- Adhering to legislation, for example, accessibility by people with disabilities.
Building Information Model (BIM)
BIM software can collect and analyze massive amounts of design and construction data to improve safety and compliance. With the use of a 3D BIM, the above tasks and many more can be taken care of accurately and in minutes. AI can learn from the databases of many BIM models to automatically detect good and bad design elements. The future belongs to AI-based creative tools that will allow designers to easily explore the infinite possibilities of a design through simple and easy-to-use user interfaces. With this new capability, the entire architectural workflow can be reimagined and continually reinvented.
The Hybrid Approach to Architecture is the Future
The increasing power of AI provides the opportunity to balance human and machine intelligence, letting each partner do what it does best. Because computers are not very capable of producing good open-ended creative solutions, that will continue to be the preserve of the human brain. Automation will increasingly save architects a great deal of the time they used to spend doing uncreative tasks.
Architects are being freed up to reinvest that time in design. Leaving design to machines alone would most likely create an unlivable built environment. So essentially machines are not coming for the jobs of architects; instead, they are giving designers the chance to rethink and reinvent what their jobs truly ought to be.